The plans to build a three-story mixed-use building in downtown Douglasville are still moving forward, but remain in the discussion stages in the short-term.
Since its initial concept architect and Douglasville City Councilman Terry Miller’s planned building for 6732 Spring St., behind the Masonic Lodge near the corner of Spring and Bowden streets, has spent some time back on the drawing board.
A key component of the Miller development was to include a microbrewery that would take up the entire first floor of the building and be called Skint Chestnut Brewing Company. Douglasville was originally known as Skint Chestnut by Native Americans because of a large tree in town that was stripped of its bark and used as a landmark.
But the microbrewery plans hit a bump in the road with regard to existing city ordinance requirements in the downtown area.
Miller said last year the new building will be the first Class “A” office space built in downtown Douglasville in a long time. The 11,000-square foot building will cost an estimated $2.5 million to build.
Miller said last December he hoped to begin construction by the spring, but contacted recently by phone, he said that talks with a team of investors are still ongoing for the next several weeks.
Miller said he could not yet comment on specifics, but he did confirm that there is a restaurant negotiating for the space that was to have housed the microbrewery.
A forthcoming development plan will have to be approved by the city’s planning commission, which would potentially make a recommendation for the city council to approve it. Miller who served on the council from 2007-11 and started his second tenure in 2017, said he would remain outside of all of that to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Meanwhile, Brewpub partners Mark Henson and Doug Farrell recently announced on Facebook their project has now moved to downtown Powder Springs.
According to their May 12th Facebook post, the sticking point with Douglasville had to do with its location.
“In order for us to use our proposed location, we needed a distance variance waiver due to our proximity to a church and a school. This, however, was denied.”
Henson, an award-winning longtime home brewer and French teacher at Douglas County High School, is partnering with his brother-in-law, Farrell, on the microbrewery.
Henson was contacted by phone for comment on the Facebook announcement, and said they will retain the Skint Chestnut name, which began as the name of his home brewery.
“We like the name and had already done some work on a logo,” Henson said.
Henson said that the Powder Springs building is a good fit, aligns with the available start-up capital they could put toward it and the city ordinance doesn’t impact the location of the business. He gauges the opening by April of next year.
“It’s considered in what is part of the central business district,” Henson said.
Henson explained that their parameters in finding an alternate location needed to stay basically the same as they were for the proposed Douglasville site.
“We had a connection in Powder Springs that proposed the same kind of situation, so we looked at it and it looks great,” he said.
But the difference is that in Powder Springs the downtown building already exits that will be modified, he said.
“One of the big things appealing to me is that it’s right off the Silver Comet Trail, which is something I never even considered. That’s something that can be very beneficial to having a brewery in a location like that,” Henson said.
Farrell, also contacted by phone, focuses on the operations side of the business. He said there was another distinct advantage to the site.
“They actually had a planned brewery going in to that same location that never opened, and probably a lot of that groundwork was done by somebody else that allowed us to get to the point we are,” Farrell said.
But Farrell maintains that the overall efforts locally to revitalize downtown Douglasville with the Town Green and the amphitheater on the old jail site to the west and a half block from the Douglasville Conference Center would be helped by a business like theirs.
“They’re going to need something solid like that that’s going to be an anchor for them that can really be a draw that keeps people there. The amphitheater is only going to be going on the weekends. Breweries all over the country tend to be these catalysts that drive a lot of that development in the downtown area, because they bring people there,” he said.
According to their Facebook post, Powder Springs has gotten very proactive with revitalization efforts to the downtown area, noting the new Thurman Springs Park and Hardy Family Amphitheater.
“In addition to our plans, there are multiple restaurants in development, while Rooted Trading Company and the new Sweet Southern Ice Cream and Coffee shop are already going strong.”
Henson, a Douglasville resident, said they’re okay with how things have worked out, but added that any expansion plans would revisit the possibility of a satellite location in Douglasville somewhere down the road.
“If, in the future, we’re very successful and we’d like to expand operations, I’d like to make a second location here in Douglasville assuming that it could be accommodated,” Henson said.